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January 17, 2017

MSCI Applauds USTR’s Challenge To Chinese Aluminum Subsidies

Last Thursday, the office of the U.S. Trade Representative announced that it had lodged a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) concerning China’s subsidies to certain producers of primary aluminum. The Metals Service Center Institute (MSCI) released a statement after this news broke. MSCI President and CEO M. Robert Weidner called the announcement “a positive step” and noted that “in testimony before the U.S. International Trade Commission in September, MSCI’s Board of Directors Vice Chair R. Holman Head issued a resounding call for action to address Chinese overcapacity.” 

Weidner continued, saying, “This decision makes it clear that the current administration listened” but also cautioned members, saying, “What we now need to understand as an industry is how USTR’s consultation request will affect the entire industrial metals supply chain to ensure it does not have negative unintended consequences.” 

Weidner concluded, “USTR’s announcement clearly is welcome news and is the first step in bringing the Chinese government to the table to reach a negotiated settlement on overcapacity. Combined with President-elect Donald Trump’s firm commitment to standing up to unfair Chinese trade practices, this WTO challenge indicates to our international competitors that, when it comes to combatting unlawful trade practices, U.S. policymakers speak with one voice and will work together, regardless of party, to ensure that trade is not only free, but also fair.”

Modern Metals discussed Weidner’s statement and also featured it on social media. 

According to Politico’s “Morning Trade,” “The threat of WTO litigation could persuade China to seek a negotiated settlement, which would be a much quicker resolution than fighting out the case over the next two to four years. U.S. trade officials were guarded on that possibility, although WTO rules require at least 60 days of consultation before the United States can formally request a dispute settlement panel to hear its complaint.”